Irish Abortion Fight

An estimated crowd of 8,000 pro-life demonstrators braved bitterly cold weather to hold a candlelight vigil outside the Irish parliament on Dec. 4, calling on the government not to introduce abortion legislation. Speakers from a coalition of pro-life organizations asked Prime Minister Enda Kenny to keep a pledge made before the 2011 general election not to introduce such legislation. The protest came a week after Kenny promised “swift action” on study group recommendations that the government introduce legislation to provide for abortion in limited circumstances. In practice, abortion is illegal in Ireland; but a 1992 Supreme Court judgment—known as the X case—found that there is a constitutional right to abortion where there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother, including the risk of suicide, up to birth. The issue has been much debated in Ireland following the death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year old dentist, on Oct. 28, after she was denied an abortion in an Irish hospital while suffering a miscarriage.

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